Monster Cupcakes

Scott and I took a little holiday this summer for our anniversary, (10 years!) and (to Martha’s Vineyard, if you’re curious) every morning we’d stop by this cute little bakery for breakfast before we set out to do our touristy activities. And, as vacation carbs don’t count, I was intrigued/addicted to these fantastic pistachio muffins! I just thought to myself, how unique! I’d never had one! Total bliss. And they inspired the recipe below.

These cupcakes are so nice and, ahem, moist, and so much ding dang fun for Halloween! Ganache is a cinch to make and you can find the multi-colored candies at Sam’s club. I’m weirdly obsessed with having M&Ms in every seasonal color…tell me you’re the same? It’s a compulsion, I literally cannot stop it. The candy eyes are available at Walmart or on Amazon. The forest green food coloring is from Hobby Lobby, I think they add a nice earthy green to these cupcakes. It’s not the St. Patrick’s, kelly green you get from the stuff that comes with the other colors in the box. Plus I think it looks more like “the Creature” from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Crazy book, if you’ve ever read it! I listened to a podcast about it one day, and apparently Mary Shelly was snowed in on a dark and stormy weekend in Switzerland with some other authors when she came up with the idea for Frankenstein. They all tried to outdo each other in writing a scary story to give each other a thrill, and that’s how The Creature came to be!

To conjure your own delicious creature cupcakes, you will need…

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3.4 ounce box of instant pistachio pudding
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2-3 drops forest green food coloring

For the ganache frosting

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Assorted candy eyes and chocolate candies

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and spray the insides with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, mix together the butter, sugar, extracts, oil, eggs, and milk until just combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pudding mix.

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in batches. When just mixed together, drop in a few drops of the food coloring. Don’t mix it all the way, so you create a swirly/marbled effect! Three or four turns with the paddle attachment should do the trick!

Next, scoop the mixture into the muffin liners until they’re about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes.

While the muffins are baking, make the ganache! Pour the cup of chocolate into a medium bowl and set aside. GENTLY heat the heavy cream over medium heat until bubbles form around the sides, but it’s not boiling. Don’t be like me, walk away and get distracted only to find that your cream has completely evaporated. I often wonder if I have ADHD, ha!  Pour it over the chocolate and whisk together in a medium bowl until smooth.  Depending on the thickness you want, you may prefer to cool the ganache in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This will make it a bit thicker.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before turning them upside down in the ganache, or you can spread it on with an offset spatula. Whichever way floats your Frankenstein fancy! Decorate with candy eyes and chocolate candies! Yum, yum, yum! Devilishly delightful! And kiddos get a big kick out of the decorating process, so by all means, get your little (or big) monsters on deck!

Here is a handy printable!


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